There’s something truly magical about a fireplace. The natural crackling sounds, the enveloping heat, the way the flames dance and hypnotise you, that inviting smell, the way it brings you back to nature in its purest form.
All of these qualities add such a unique touch to your home, and can even help cure your winter blues (the focus of our last piece), so we thought it was only fair we devote this article to the beloved fireplace.
A brief history of fireplaces
Naturally, fire has been key to human survival since the beginning. What began as primitive fire pits in the ground and in caves developed into more sophisticated hearths in buildings. Chimneys were invented in the 11th or 12th century, and radically changed the game by getting rid of much of the smoke.
By this time, wood-burning fireplaces were indispensable fixtures in most households, being used to heat rooms, for cooking, laundry and other domestic purposes, and for their relaxing ambiance.
However, over the course of the 20th century, gas fireplaces became an increasingly popular alternative due to their efficiency and cleanliness.
Gas fireplaces v. wood fireplaces
Wood-burning fires are a classic. The smell of the wood burning away, the crackling in the background. However, they also create a lot of smoke and ash, not to mention they take more effort to light and maintain, more clean up afterwards, and require a place to store all that firewood (also a natural haven for spiders!).
Gas fireplaces do not have these issues. In fact, here are a few reasons why gas fireplaces are preferred over wood-burning fireplaces by so many households:
- Gas fireplaces do not produce harmful smoke, ash, sparks, or burning logs that seem to have a mind of their own.
- Gas fireplaces generally run more efficiently.
- Gas fireplaces can be started anytime. No more fiddly newspaper crumpling and kindling stacking.
- Gas fireplaces can be turned on and off at will, often via an app on your phone!
- Gas fireplaces offer greater flexibility. Most have adjustable temperature settings and timers so you can set them to come on.
- Gas fireplaces come in a range of stylish designs to suit your decor preferences.
- Gas fireplaces produce incredibly realistic flames that match the atmosphere and authenticity of their predecessors.
- Gas fireplaces can produce incredibly realistic crackling sounds too.
How to enjoy your fireplace (even more)
The key to enjoying your fireplace is to maximise comfort and convenience. Place your favourite furniture near enough to enjoy it, but not too close for obvious reasons.
Also consider what you like to do while enjoying a fire. If it’s streaming your favourite show, mount a TV in an optimal position. If it’s reading magazines and books, keep some under the coffee table.
A surefire way to make the most of your fireplace is to invite some family and friends along. Watch as the older generations recount stories around it. Get the kids talking. Play some board games. No matter what you do, chances are it’ll be more fun next to a fireplace.
An assortment of nibbles and a good drink will go a long way too. We don’t need to say any more than that, other than we do have an article on great drink and book pairings for the ultimate fireplace experience, should you be on the lookout.
As mentioned in the previous section, gas fireplaces benefit from having no clean-up afterwards, not to mention the ability to be turned off and on using your phone. These features might sound trivial but they sure can help you enjoy your fireplace even more.
Make sure you also have a good vantage point of your fireplace. After all, a major benefit of watching flames is that they’re known to relax us and help us let go of our day-to-day anxieties as our mind is drawn into them.